By Chuck Sparrow

I mean really. Hard. Even as a spectator, it’s obvious. Inevitably, somewhere along the route, someone will be holding up a sign that says, “You do realize the first person to do this died, right?” Well that’s encouraging…. 

But long before running the Marathon — it’s the decision that even attempting to run a marathon is, for some reason, an attractive proposition. It’s the dedication to train for somewhere between 4 and 8 months beforehand. During that time, you’ll run the equivalent of 17 to 22 marathons in training alone. 

And all of that preparation is just so you can get to the starting line for the Marathon.  

During the Marathon, you’ll likely encounter both highs and lows which you hadn’t anticipated. The combination of excitement and trepidation as you approach the starting line, and then making it through the first mile or two. The feeling of hitting just the right stride, thinking “I could run like this forever…” (Spoiler alert – no, you can’t.) And the mental and physical valley of despair, which others will warn you about, but you can’t fully comprehend until going through it yourself. It often happens somewhere between miles 18 and 23, as you question every single decision in your life, in a futile effort to pinpoint exactly where the blame rightly belongs for getting you into this situation for which there is seemingly no way out. 

There is the support and encouragement of others running with you, even if just for a little while, helping to fuel each next step. And the dedicated spectators on the side, who themselves are out there for hours, holding poster boards of information, advice, and philosophy…

             You Got This! Almost There! (Lies…)

It’s all downhill from here! (More Lies…)

No need to rush, they ran out of beer (Better be a lie…)

Don’t trust that fart…

“Run the Marathon, Not the Sprint”. As I reviewed our Guiding Principles this week, it only makes sense that this is the 10th and final Principle. The preceding 9* – each critical to the Jabian culture – serve as the foundation, and the preparation, upon which rests our ability to Run the Marathon. Those principles get us to the starting line – healthy and with a strong chance for success. And they give us the confidence that yes, we can, Run the Marathon. 

Marathons are hard. But as my colleagues remind me through their actions, we do hard things every day.   

* The first 9 – Hire the Best People for a Career; Have Fun; Serve our Local Communities; Achieve Balance; Be Trusted Advisors; Be Thought Leaders; Treat Every Interaction as Our Most Important; Create Rewarding Career Opportunities and Strong Teams; Pursue the Right Work Where We Can Deliver the Highest Value.